A GROUP of Pendle councillors is urging county council bosses to buy a disused railway line before it is too late.

British Rail residual property company offered the track between Colne and the former county boundary, near New Hague, to Lancashire County Council, for £50,000 in July.

And it stipulated that a decision must be reached within six months.

With the deadline fast approaching, a group of Liberal Democrat councillors is now calling on county council chiefs to buy the disused line.

The former track is continuous from Vivary Way in Colne, apart from a missing bridge over the canal at Foulridge.

Nelson county coun Sonia Robinson said: "This is a once-and-for-all opportunity.

"We want to see a multi-use recreational route - a footpath, cycleway and bridleway - created as soon as possible.

"It would be possible to do it in stages.

"It would also keep the route under public control until the railway line is reinstated, when the recreational route could be provided alongside the railway."

West Craven county coun David Whipp added that the authority would be letting down the people of Pendle if it did not step in to buy the route.

He said: "It's time the county council came down firmly in favour of this project.

"They are up against the deadline and they must act."

Coun Tony Greaves has written to Transport Minister Lord Adonis to ask him to step in to make sure the track is not sold to any unsuitable purchaser who might try to break it up and sell it off in bits.

He also intends to raise the matter at the Pendle Lancashire Local committee, which will meet in Trawden next Wednesday.

Coun Greaves said: "I understand that the ‘missing link’ rail campaign group SELRAP have approached Lancashire County Council and asked them to buy the former railway line.

"I am sorry that the county council have not responded to the offer of the land before now - they are now at the end of the time given to them by the owners.

"It is a pity that they have not got together everyone interested - SELRAP, Pendle council and local county councillors, as well as local cycling, bridleway and walking groups, and I hope they will still do so."

It is understood that discussions have also taken place with national charity SUSTRANS, which is involved in setting up a national sustainable transport network, particularly cycleways.

No-one from the county council was available for comment.